A vast mine run by the country's most powerful ethnic armed group roiled the global tin market when huge quantities of high grade ore were discovered in 2013. This tin has compromised the global supply chain, illustrating the difficulties facing multinationals in monitoring supply chain that have grown increasingly complex.
The self-proclaimed Wa State, whose leadership is blacklisted by U.S. authorities for drug-trafficking, is located in one of the most inaccessible corners of Southeast Asia. From there, its tin begins the journey into the global market.
The mine is owned by the Wa government via the Treasury Department. All the companies extracting tin from the mine are owned or controlled by United Wa State Army (UWSA) or United Wa State Party (UWSP) leaders, both blacklisted by the U.S. for drug-trafficking charges.
Sources: USGS; Reuters
Photo: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun
By Jessica Wang, Yimou Lee | REUTERS GRAPHICS